A Falls Church man driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass rammed barricades protecting the Capitol building yesterday after being stopped for a traffic citation, Officer Dan Nichols, a spokesman for the U.S. Capitol Police, said.
George C. Heflin, Jr., 33, of the 2200 block of Casemont Drive, was charged with three counts of assault on a federal police officer with a deadly weapon (his car), and one count of destruction of government property after his car slammed into concrete flower pots across the entrance to the building's East Front parking lot.
Nichols said that before the crash, Heflin was seen taking a box from the trunk of his car and then running toward the Capitol with the box, which contained religious pamphlets, under his arm. Officers stopped him and issued a ticket for leaving his car running and unattended on Maryland Avenue, Nichols said.
Heflin then got in the car "and floored it, attempting to run down" the three officers, Nichols said. Heflin "gunned his engines as he approached the barricade," the officer said.
The Oldsmobile smashed into the concrete barricades, which weigh several hundred pounds, and moved them about 10 feet. The car came to rest about 150 yards from the entrance to the Senate. Heflin was removed from the car at gunpoint. He sustained minor injuries in the crash, Nichols said.
This is the first time the barriers have been breeched since they were installed as a security measure in the mid-1980s, Nichols said. Congress is not in session now. Heflin was being held at U.S. Capitol Police headquarters and will be arraigned this morning in U.S. District Court, Nichols said.